It’s ELECTRIC

It’s coming up on the end of my first week in Ghana.  I am on a GSK PULSE assignment to the Tropical Laboratory Initiative of the Millenium Villages Project located in Manso NKwanta and the Bonsaaso cluster.  I spent a few thrilling days at the Tontokrom laboratory and have toured several of the clinics in the cluster.  I was able to diagnose my first several cases of malaria as well as a case of Hepatitis B. This laboratory is SO important for the local villages as the lab supplies diagnostic tests for several thousand people who would have to travel to the district hospital 10s of kilometers away and have blood drawn there to get results which we can provide in minutes.  The assays are run at satellite clinics and then couriers on motorbikes collect them and bring them to the lab to run.  All of this would work perfectly except for one problem–The power grid in Ghana is completely unreliable!  Power is off almost 12 hours a day, or trickles on and off.  Thank goodness for a solar backup. Fortunately, most of the tests can be run despite the lack of electricity, but it affects everything here from phone service, water (need pumps), internet (modems need electricity), etc.  Despite all of that, the people remain upbeat and shrug off the difficulties.  Thanks so much to GSK and the PULSE team for providing me the opportunity to help save lives here.